Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

Shell and tube heat exchangers are, simply put, a device that puts two working fluids in thermal contact using tubes housed within an outer cylindrical shell. These two integral pathways are usually built out of thermally conductive metals that allow easy heat transfer (steel, aluminum alloys, etc.). The tubes carry a fluid from their inlet to their outlet (the “tube-side” flow), while the shell passes a separate fluid over these tubes (the “shell-side” flow). The number of tubes, known as the tube bundle will dictate how much surface area is exposed to the shell-side flow, and therefore determines how much heat is transferred. These devices are among the most effective means of exchanging heat, as they are easily built, maintained, are compact, and provide excellent heat transfer. They are widely distributed in industry, being useful for condensers, turbine coolers, evaporators, feed water preheating, and much more.

There are many possibilities and choices to make when it comes to shell and tube units. They can be made from carbon steel to something as exotic as niobium. The tubes can be straight or U bend. The bundles can be removed or stationary. There can be multiple flow passes. Many factors go into choosing the right unit for your application. Process Dynamics has skilled individuals with years of experience to guide you through the selection process and help solve your needs.


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